Hiding in plain sight, he eyes his next target. He is a predator. He watches every move, listens keenly. He waits till the right moment.
She writes posts on Instagram a picture of her favorite people, including her younger siblings, mom, dad, and bffs. On Facebook she shares her school schedule for next year, and talks about what her sports schedule looks like. She Tweets her biggest dreams thus far as a 14 year old.
She gets a friend request from someone new. A cute, older guy on Facebook, then he adds her on Instagram too. He says he graduated from the high school she'll be attending a couple years ago. Talks about teachers he's had that she's going to have soon. He tells her he wants to travel the world, feed starving children in Africa, and she becomes smitten because that's EXACTLY what she wants to do!
He tells her she's adorable.
"Can we meet up? ;)"
She's head over heels. He's attractive, and funny, and intelligent. He's into her, and nobody has treated her like this before.
She's ready to give him everything.
Skipping yet another sports practice, he picks her up.
"Will you just do this for me? If you love me, you'll go with him for an hour. Think of the money. Just do what you do what you do to me, with him. You can think of me the whole time!"
"You get kicked off the sports team for missing practices. And now you're skipping school? Young lady, what has gotten in to you? Where are you doing?"
"I'm just hanging out with friends. You wouldn't understand. You don't even love me!"
"How long has your daughter been missing ma'am?"
"You can't leave. I know where your siblings sleep. I know where your parents work. Besides, who would love a ho like you besides me? Come here..."
"I love you."
Sex trafficking of minors is not something that happens in just the 'bad' cities to the 'bad' girls and boys. It's not limited to huge populations where runaway minors simply disappear into the grime of the metropolis.
It happens in my city, your town, all across the nation and the world. It's very real.
And you can make a difference.
Join the Central WI Against Human Trafficking group on Facebook to stay informed on different community efforts to protect our youth from predators like the one described above.
They are intelligent. They play the game well.
And the best way to keep our community safe is to connect, educate, and stay vigilant.
With the rise in drugs comes the rise in sex trafficking. We all need to work together to help keep our communities safe.